Spring Beauty Trend: Bright Eyes

Derek Lam Spring 2011 bright eyes

Photo courtesy of Estée Lauder

Model Liu Wen's strong shadow backstage at the Derek Lam Spring 2011 show.

In addition to spring’s bold lip colors, bright eye shadow had a major moment on the runway. From shocking pinks to Smurf blues, this season’s most noteworthy shades proved there is life beyond subtle nudes and browns.

At Derek Lam, makeup artist Tom Pecheux painted thick, Magic Marker–like strokes of melony pigment onto lids. Interestingly, he used Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Lip Pencil in Coral and Pure Color orangey lipsticks (set to launch this March) to get the look.

Pecheux then set the creamy pigment with the brand’s Pure Color EyeShadow in Sugar Cube to keep it from smudging. Juicy and delicious, the fruity color was admittedly very preppy. But funny thing: The solid, graphic placement was so arresting that it actually felt a touch punk.

Christian Dior Spring 2011 bright eyes

Photo: Imaxtree

Turn around, bright eyes: Neon lids on the Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2011 runway.

At Peter Som and Nina Ricci, Pecheux and fellow makeup artist Pat McGrath each proved that two of the most feared shades in eye makeup —yellow and pink—are actually more misunderstood than they are unflattering.

For Peter Som, Pecheux kept the color ultrabright and super-concentrated (as he’d done at Derek Lam), successfully shaking off any unfortunate jaundice associations. (In fact, the look was dead cool.)

To achieve the high-wattage effect, Pecheux used professional products, specifically M.A.C Pro Acrylic Paint with M.A.C Pro Chromaline in Super Yellow.

At Nina Ricci, McGrath grounded her pretty haze of fuchsia-colored shadow with black liner and mascara, skillfully avoiding a rabbitlike look.

Perhaps the apex of this trend was McGrath’s work at Dior. The models’ Bettie Page–style makeup was complemented with solid, Colorform-esque applications of blue, green, orange, red, yellow and fuchsia shadow. The effect was dramatic but it didn’t take itself so seriously. And it worked.

How to pull it off: “You have to just go for it,” say Pecheux. “Bright color looks best when it looks vivid.” Apply it without conviction and you’re missing the point, he says. “It should be striking.”

Though he’s a purist, Pecheux does have some helpful advice if you’re feeling timid: “Use a bright yellow or orange to highlight your favorite brown shadow. It warms it up and adds some fun.”

Christian Dior Spring 2011 bright eyes

Photos: M.A.C | Estée Lauder

Clockwise from top left: Eye shadow in Chrome Yellow, M.A.C, $14.50; Pure Color EyeShadow in Sugar Cube, Estée Lauder, $20, and Double Wear Stay-in-Place Lip Pencil in Coral and Pure Color, Estée Lauder, $19; both available at